Performing ArtS Festival
The Voices festival is an independent space that presents the voices of artists, who could otherwise not be heard due to the current personal and collective trauma that is affecting the world. These partly impaired voices reflect individual experiences, as well as the conflict between national and international identities. Their personal struggles help to identify contemporary challenges both for society and contemporary culture. The Voices program explores new cultural phenomena within contemporary performing arts from various countries that are heirs of the USSR, but which managed to preserve their traditions even during the Soviet era. It highlights the diverse array of artists from these regions who, in recent years, have either been displaced from their home countries, or have had to redefine their professional relationships within an extraterritorial and transnational context.
theater critic, playwright,
VOICES advisory board member
What is national culture? To what extent is it aligned with the geographical boundaries formally associated with it in people's minds? Can it exist independently of language, detached from the local references that resonate with an audience? Can one even discuss performing arts within the framework of national cultures, or have they long existed within a broader cosmopolitan realm? In light of recent political events, these questions have gained sudden relevance. Perhaps never before in recent history have so many people connected to the arts become instant exiles, refugees, and emigrants, seeking to rediscover themselves beyond their homeland's borders, in various countries and circumstances. The Voices Festival offers a new perspective on contemporary culture through the lens of this novel existence of artists, directors, choreographers, and composers. The main part of its program showcases Russian-speaking voices that vividly reflect this new trend. Voices, on one hand, focusses on individuals rather than group identities; each voice in this program is all the more precious, the more unique their individual experiences are from one another. On the other hand, it raises the question: can representatives of culture living in dispersion maintain themselves as a unified mental entity, as an extraterritorial phenomenon, detached from their roots without losing their distinctiveness?
VOICES advisory board member
Music is more sensitive and precise in responding to the challenges of reality than many other art forms, helping us experience and comprehend them. The Voices musical program brings together composers and musicians from the post-Soviet space, whose reactions to current-day crises seem to us to be extremely profound, interesting, and worthy of support. When we use the term "post-Soviet space," we in no way attempt to unify individual voices within some illusory discourse of the past. On the contrary, for us the individuality of positions and their independence is crucial. However, simultaneously, we aim to create a platform where composers, still not sufficiently represented in the European context, can resonate in performances by some of the finest European musicians, within a single program, and engage in respectful, and attentive dialogue with one another. The perspective of individuals who live and work in unfamiliar, foreign environments is particularly valuable to us. This is because the complexity of today's world is better understood by artists who venture beyond their familiar, initial context, enriching their view of art with new perspectives. We are the sum of the cultural influences we have experienced, and our identity is the sum of reactions to personal and collective challenges, unique aspects of each of our biographies. Such a fluid, changing identity composed of numerous perspectives might be the perfect metaphor for the contemporary artist's view of the world. Hence, while examining musical phenomena emerging from the space once labeled as post-Soviet, we focus not on the mass, but on the individual; not on the archetypal, but on the unique.